Francois Knoetze on representations of waste and consumer culture

Performance artist Francois Knoetze's trash monsters are a bleak and beautiful reflection of our consumer culture and the waste it creates.

Cape Town-based performance artist Francois Knoetze created a spectacular performance piece for the Design Indaba Conference 2016, with more of his Cape Mongo trash monsters collected together into one act than ever before. He scripted a narrative that introduced each of their characters, much like a dystopian David Attenborough documentary, with details of each of their anatomy and behaviours.

Cape Mongo, a series of videos Knoetze created, follows the stories of five characters as they journey through the city of Cape Town. Each Mongo character is made from the city’s discarded waste – mythical “trash creatures” that have emerged from the growing dumps of consumer culture. The five wearable sculptures are fashioned entirely out of waste. Cape Mongo imagines trash objects – specifically, the packaging of domestic consumables and the electronic devices used to record every-day life – as remnants of the activities that created them. 

*Mongo n. slang. object thrown away and then recovered